Visakhapatnam: Mask it up as it is too early to lower guard

A group of girls armed with masks in Visakhapatnam
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A group of girls armed with masks in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

  • Despite the rising daily caseload of coronavirus, not many appear to pay heed to safety protocols
  • According to a recent study, only 45 per cent of people adhere to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour

Visakhapatnam: Mask compliance, which is considered to be a significant Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, has come down in the city in recent past.

Despite the rising daily caseload of coronavirus, not many appear to pay heed to safety protocols.

Again, the purpose of masking the lower part of the face, preferably a little below the eyes till the chin, is rarely served. Even as a negligible percentage of people step out carrying a mask, it is often seen hanging around their ears or chin or neck or tucked inside a pocket.

In crowded spots, people coughing and sneezing without a mask continue to pose an even larger risk.

According to a recent study, only 45 per cent of people adhere to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. The rest, experts say, has let their guard down too early. "This is indeed a dangerous sign. The pandemic has still not left us and there is a need to consider every safety protocol as seriously as it was followed last year. Even if people do get vaccinated, they are not supposed to lower their guard. Following safety protocols meticulously, skipping unnecessary travel and gatherings go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus," explains Malladi S Sharma, in-charge of Covid Care Centres.

Donning a mask appropriately, following hand hygiene and maintaining social distance are the basic preventive measures adopted to contain the spread of the virus. And every individual, health officials reiterate, should comply with the safety norms and contribute towards controlling the pandemic.

Earlier, senior citizens used to be at a greater risk. "Now, even younger people are getting infected. However, most of the young patients who fall under the age group of 35-40 years are asymptomatic. In recent weeks, a number of people in the same family are getting infected," observes KVV Vijay Kumar, Superintendent of the Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases. The Superintendent stresses on strict compliance of Covid-19 guidelines and recommends avoiding congregations.

Though the district health officials assure preparedness in terms of availability of beds, manpower and supply of medicines to treat Covid-19 patients, what needs a large attention is building awareness about Covid appropriate behaviour.

With over 20 variants of the Covid-19 virus to battle against and the second wave of infections spreading faster than before, the basic shield that one could consider is making safety protocols a way of life.

Unless each individual owns responsibility and sticks to self-imposed restrictions, experts say, it is going to be a long wait to usher in virus-free days again.

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